Question: Yes. As you know, the ESCWA [Economic and Social Commission for West Asia] agency’s so-called Israel apartheid report was removed last March from the website as per the direction of the UN Secretary-General, but the non-governmental organization UN Watch is reporting that that agency’s official website and social media posts are replete with references to “apartheid”, accusations against Israel. Gives a whole number of examples. So, I’m wondering, number one, you know, whether anyone in the Secretariat is responsible for monitoring as a follow-up to the Secretary-General’s direction and… and whether, in fact, if this charge by UN Watch is true, the corrective action will be taken to further implement the Secretary-General’s direction to remove references to “apartheid” on an official UN website in relation to Israel. Thank you.
Deputy Spokesman: Well, just to remind you that that report that was issued earlier this year was not a report of the Economic and Social Commission on West Asia, but was by independent experts, and we don’t have any relationship to them. Regarding the group itself, ESCWA, as you know, it is now under a new leadership, and we would trust that the new leadership of the Economic and Social Commission will be in charge of monitoring their communications to make sure that those are in line with UN policies.
Question: Well… follow-up to that. First of all, I believe that report, as I recall, was issued under… at least allegedly, under the auspices of the UN, which is what apparently upset the Secretary-General, that it wasn’t run through his normal offices of review, and therefore, he directed it that it be removed from the… from the website bearing the name the United Nations. Well, the same problem, apparently, is being perpetrated by that agency and the UN official website using the term “apartheid” against Israel, just in a different form. And shouldn’t there be some monitoring at the Secretariat to make sure that the overall direction of the Secretary-General in relation to that charge of “apartheid” at his direction is followed?
Deputy Spokesman: Well, we do trust… like I said, there’s new leadership in the Economic and Social Commission of… for West Asia, and we do trust that they will do the monitoring and any appropriate follow-up that’s necessary. Regarding that report, it did not follow the consultation process that the Secretary-General would have expected. Mustafa?
GENEVA, September 18, 2020 — The Islamic Republic of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Belarus were among members of the UN’s 54-nation Economic and Social